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View Diary: Understanding The Attacks On Public Employees (216 comments)

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  •  Re (5+ / 0-)

    When "Walmart" is the biggest local employer, it looks bad when the average Wal-Mart employee is making $9.00/hr but the average city/county/state/ or federal worker is making 45K/yr, gets insurance, vacation, sick time etc., you know "a real job."

    The problem here is that the salary for the city/county/state worker comes directly out of the Walmart worker's salary via (usually) regressive taxes like sales taxes, or more "middle class" taxes like property taxes. (You can't really get very progressive on a local level because upper earners can just leave).

    So telling the Wal-mart worker that he has to pay higher sales/property/state income taxes and have a lower standard of living because some government employee that makes 2-3x his wage needs a pension is kind of a hard sell.

    Even the argument "b...b...but Wall Street" isn't going to work on such people, who have basically zero control over their own compensation and have no time or energy to participate in national campaigns.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 10:07:23 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  You're saying they need a union (18+ / 0-)

      Instead of resenting that people who organize and watch out for each other can make more.

      --
      Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: @dcjohnson

      by davej on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:22:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wal-mart workers... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HylasBrook

        ...can't unionize and have no realistic method of increasing their compensation.

        One of these workers would argue that public employees should take the hit first, then get their salaries back when the Wal-mart workers' salaries improve too.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:25:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  wal mart workers CAN unionize. (8+ / 0-)

          It is becoming more and more likely every day, as social networking sites proliferate, wal mart workers can organize on an even larger scale.  What's to stop unions from getting people to sign virtual cards at the union's websites?  The employer could be kept completely away from the process, would have no way of knowing who had signed, and people who feel safe and cozy alone in their homes, just them and the internet, get up to all kinds of crazy shit like surfing kinky porn signing a union card.  Using the same encryption as electronic retailing, the courts would be hard pressed to refuse to certify the results.  

          No way, no how... am I going to fish around with fucking TAGS or set up bullshit GROUPS to muck around with. Ain't gonna happen. --The Raven

          by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:41:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Again your argument is regressive (9+ / 0-)

          ...punish workers who succeed in getting unions going, because unions worked for them so that Walmart workers and others, don't get angry at fellow workers.  Do you not see how ridiculous this is?  Walmart workers anger should be aimed at the Walton family, and the right wing, and the corporations who send factory jobs to places where they pay the lowest wages and have not safety concerns for their workers.    

          When I started teaching, unions in education were a either a rarity or in name only.   But I was on the east coast, and teachers were talking with truck drivers, steel mill workers and learning from them.  We did not blame them for doing well.  At the time a high school dropout was making three times the salary I was making with a BA. In fact in one of my first years, teaching in an area where oil refineries were still operating, one of my more difficult students (his name was Punk and that was not a nickname) was with me after school as I was trying to get him more motivated.   He was nearly 13 and only in the fifth grade. Often he missed school in previous years and back then we were allowed to retain students.  Anyway this student says to me, "I really appreciate your help Ms. ****, you really care about us (I was only 24 and I suspect he had a little crush).  But I have to be honest.  I am going to quit school when I turn 16 because I can go work in the refinery and I will probably make more money than you."   This was in 1971, before Reagan, before the hatred of workers, before the anti union mentality RR pushed, before companies were taking jobs to China.    I knew he was right but I still insisted he learn and continued to insist he think about staying in school.

          We, the teachers, were getting stronger as a union then, and we were heavily supported by the parents of most of our students who were in unions.

          I moved to the Southwest in the mid 1970s.  It was culture shock.  MOST of the districts in my state were/are not unionized.  But luckily I was hired in the one district in our area that has a strong union.   In the 35 plus years here, the attempts to break us have been many and strong, but we amazingly held together.   But we are an anomaly here in the southwest.  
          What I hear you saying is that we, the teachers who succeeded in not being beat down by the corporations who want to destroy us, should voluntarily allow ourselves to be punished because the workers in this state in both education and the private sector have failed to unionize.  

          Seriously that is one of the most regressive points of view I have ever hear.

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously that is one of the most regressive points of view I have ever hear.

            Of course you think it is regressive. You're a union teacher who does not want their compensation cut. It's perfectly understandable.

            However, we live in a world of limited resources and everybody wants better compensation. We all can't get it because there's limited economic productivity. Tradeoffs have to be made.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 09:40:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Limited resources? (0+ / 0-)

              As the late great Howard Zinn has pointed out, the money is right there. End the wars, tax the wealthy fairly. End the empire. Problem solved. But oh!The wealthy might leave...and go where? Canada? Even higher taxes. Europe? Even higher taxes. Can they all move to Dubai? I think not....the emperor has no clothes and knows it, and the rich are shit scared the people at large will figure it out. And they will, in time.

            •  Crystallized Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

              Even in the USA, any group of workers should be able to pool their influence in bargaining with the employer.  Most can unionize, even in jurisictions which have made it difficult.  Difficult and risky is not the same as impossible.

              No way, no how... am I going to fish around with fucking TAGS or set up bullshit GROUPS to muck around with. Ain't gonna happen. --The Raven

              by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 10:54:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And when workers went on strike (0+ / 0-)

            no one crossed the lines. Old timers told me when the teachers went on strike in the 70's in these parts, since some teachers were in AFL CIO, the board was shut down. Mail wasn't delivered. Garbage wasn't picked up. Food deliveries stopped. No one crossed the line. Private sector workers were union and they sided with teachers, not the fucking administrators and they didn't buy all the bullshit about hurting the kids; they knew their kids needed fairly compensated teachers. Now it is illegal for teachers to strike in a lot of states, and many private sector non-union workers think teachers are overpaid and underworked, a result of 40 years of right wing talking points hammered home through both print and nonprint media.

    •  public employees serving the public.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, HylasBrook

      Taxpayers are paying the wages (what pennies per taxpayer?) for public employees to serve them, whether it is fire or safety protection, unemployment office, DMV, etc.  Just like people are paying walmart employees for their service through buying at their store.  Are we to close down all these state/local services in order to save a few pennies?

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)

        "A few pennies"? Local, sales, and property taxes take a large chunk out of the income of lower-paid residents.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:46:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A good, strong government (4+ / 0-)

          protecting us from the abuses of people historically brought on by concentrated power and wealth, and empowering us to prosper through courts, infrastructure, education and the things government does for us doesn't come cheap.

          A progressive tax structure helps by having those who benefit the most from our society pay the most helps, but it isn't free and shouldn't be expected to be free.

          --
          Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: @dcjohnson

          by davej on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:07:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Local and state governments.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eikyu Saha

            ...generally don't have progressive tax structures. The smaller you are, the less you are able to support high/progressive taxes because high earners can simply leave and go somewhere that there are low taxes.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:10:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  From NYT article on Reich: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teharper428, leftangler

            Reich is quoted:

            "...the public is being sold a big lie -- that our problems owe to unions and the size of government and not to fraud and deregulation and vast concentration of wealth."

            I work at a state-run university: my wife does similar work at a private university.  I challenge anyone to say that my work is less real, less valuable, or less productive than hers.  The only difference is that she teaches rich kids.  The students that I teach often come from families that can't afford vacations in the Seychelles.

        •  because the wealthy don't pay enough (0+ / 0-)

          so the poor have to pay more...

        •  yes, mere pennies - their salaries.... (0+ / 0-)

          you think salaries are the only expense of a public service?

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